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Sunday, Aug. 07, 2011

Auburn football notes: Update on Tigers' starting quarterback competition

- abitter@ledger-enquirer.com
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AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn’s quarterback race hasn’t had any movement through one week, and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn is still hesitant to put a timetable on naming a starter.

“As soon as possible, we’d like to name a starter,” Malzahn said. “But at the same time, there’s a process you’ve got to go through. And we’ve got so many young guys and so many inexperienced guys, we need to get to a point where we feel very good about everything around them so we can properly evaluate them.”

Veterans Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley have gotten reps early on, along with freshman Kiehl Frazier.

Malzahn said he’s thrown a lot at Frazier, the highly-touted signee from last year’s signing class, in particular, giving him long looks with the younger group during practice.

“It’s good for him,” Malzahn said. “Each day you can see him understanding the process better. The communication that happens before the play, and then be able to execute a play. So real proud of him.

Day of rest

After four days of practice, the Tigers get today off to recover.

Head coach Gene Chizik structured August’s practice schedule in that format for all of two-a-days, going four practices before giving the players some rest.

“It’s good,” Malzahn said. “We really strain them, so their bodies need a day for relaxing.”

Auburn resumes practice Monday at 6 p.m. EDT in full pads for the first time.

Long overdue

Wide receiver DeAngelo Benton, a five-star recruit who tried for years to qualify for college out of Bastrop, La., might be down to his last chance to impress.

The 23-year-old junior, once heralded by wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor as someone who would rewrite the record books at Auburn, has caught only eight passes in two years. He missed six games last year with injuries to his fingers, wrist and ankle, finishing with one reception for 15 yards.

“If anybody’s time is due,” Taylor said, “it’s definitely his.”

Benton said he’s working at the “9” outside receiver position behind Emory Blake, although Blake is versatile enough to move around to other positions.

Benton said the reason he’s not getting any playing time is simple: He doesn’t always run full speed.

“We need him to rise up,” Malzahn said. “So far in camp, he’s off to a very good start. He needs to be consistent, but so far so good.”

They’ll bite

The freshmen linemen haven’t been scared to mix it up so far, with coaches and veterans complimenting their physical streak.

Christian Westerman, Greg Robinson and Reese Dismukes are at the forefront of that group. Malzahn said they’ll “bite,” meaning they’re not timid when it comes to getting into it.

“Those are Auburn offensive linemen in this class,” Malzahn said. “Their heads are spinning. They’re making mistakes, but when they make mistakes, they’re trying to put people in the ground. That’s very encouraging for the future.”

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